Luke Pearson’s Hilda series is hands down one of most enjoyable things I’ve discovered in the past year of reading comics. It’s just the right amount of heart, cuteness and strange; combined into something that young and old readers can enjoy. His latest book published by Nobrow is Hilda and the Midnight Giant. Hilda and her mother live in a remote area on their own. They’re so secluded that Hilda’s only friends are best described as mythical. One day they receive a letter from some tiny invisible people that are declaring war against them and asking them to leave. Hilda writes her answer back to them asking them to not be mean and leave them alone. They respond by throwing rocks Hilda's home. Hilda continues her adventure with them, but this is only one part of Hilda’s story.
The other part is the giant in the title. She sees him one night when chasing the invisible little people off. He continues to hide from her though until she finally catches him and gets his story from him. The story lines are connected in a clever way, but the heart of each story is its own. Both have an emotional outcome as they conclude which changes Hilda’s world.
Most people will probably agree that the art is cute as hell. I know that’s not really what an artist of any kind wants to hear, but it is. I was drawn to this series because it looked kid friendly. I stayed because I found that each story had this ping of sadness to it. Which is a great counterbalance to the art. Pearson’s line work is clean and clear. There’s a pleasant style to the series and it could easily be translated into an animation.
As for the coloring, it’s amazing. Pearson crafts a stark contrast between night and day, but he also manages dusk and morning as well. It looks and feels like a day has gone by when reading this book. Even more impressive is the fact that he does it all with flat and muted tones.
Pearson’s writing is what keeps me coming back. Having read a few of his other stories on the Nobrow comic app I was sucked in by the fact that while the outcome is usually fairly happy it’s almost a bit melancholy. Especially in this volume which sees Hilda's entire life change. She wins, but loses. Writing like that I feel is more impressive than just a happy or sad ending because it’s so much closer to reality.
Now if you’re not into stories that are cute, but weird and have a blanket of melancholy wrapped delicately around them, then the Hilda series may not be for you. I tend to read a variety of stories trying to find ones that resonate with me and this volume and this series have done just that.
Hilda and the Midnight Giant Creator: Luke Pearson Publisher: Nobrow Press Price: $24.00 Format: Hardcover; Print
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